What do you spend on lessons for your child? What does it cost for piano or violin lessons? Dance/ballet? Tai Kwan Do or other Martial Arts? Horseback riding? Sports-team fees and equipment? Tutoring? Skiing? Gym membership? Child-care?
On one of my listserves the topic of tuition for Religious School has come up and what is fair to charge families. So it got me thinking -- what is our per hour charge for school here at Temple Sinai? I worked out the math and here's what I came up with
$545 a year /divided by # of sessions 2-hour (33) = $16.5 /divided by 2 = $8.25 an hour And when you consider the tuition for Ganeinu, that works out to $2.70 an hour. What other for-fee after school activity costs so little?
So for $8.25 an hour your child gets a wonderful Jewish education, learning about things s/he won't learn anywhere else -- Jewish history, culture, language, ethics, religion, spirituality, morality, commonality. We cater to the intellect, the spiritual, the social, the communal aspects of the child and his or her place in the community and the world. So when it comes right down to it, $2.70 or even $8.25 an hour is a small price to pay for what your child is getting. Not to mention the benefits you and your family derive from temple membership.
A synagogue is more than its school, its worship services, its events, activities, classes, rabbis, teachers, and programs. It's you and what you put into it. The more you put in, the bigger the pay off. You really can't measure in dollars and cents your investment in the Jewish community and your child's future. You can only measure in sense. What are the values you hope to impart to your child?